Facebook has started testing a feature called ‘services’ that lets users find local businesses which users can review and rate. The new feature is available universally, and lists professional services like plumbers, spa, beauty & personal care, pet service, medical & health and automotive etc. The feature was first spotted by Search Engine Land.
Overall Facebook has over 80 categories, including everything for psychics, motorcycle services, dentists, plastic surgeons, DJ and publishers. However, at least for Pune, very few categories had actual ratings although there were quite a few listings in each category. Users are not restricted to searching for services in their own city and call look up services anywhere in the world. However, from what we checked almost none of the services in cities in India had any ratings. We expect though that this will get better over time as users start rating services listed on the platform.
Amazon services: In March, Amazon launched a new online marketplace that would enable users to book plumbers, electricians and other household professionals in the US. The service dubbed ‘Amazon home service’ offers 700 services from licensed professionals at launch and is focused around big cities like San Francisco, New York and Seattle.
MediaNama’s take: With this, Facebook will essentially compete with services/listings companies like Quikr and JustDial. There are differences; Quikr and JustDial list a lot more than just services like allowing users to shop online and find jobs. However, unlike these platforms, quite a few service providers are already on Facebook for visibility, and Facebook simply needs to list them in a more visible way. Facebook also has lots of users that tend to rant or praise on the ‘pages’ of a service they use. Given this, Facebook has a clear advantage in getting lots of service providers listed, and getting users to rate them, making the service incrementally more useful.
It will be even more interesting to see if Facebook starts facilitating bookings and transactions. There is precedence to making payments on the social media platform; in March, it started allowing peer-to-peer money transfers over its Messenger application starting with the United States and last month, the company started testing a ‘fundraisers’ feature to allow nonprofit organizations to raise money via a donate button. Facebook could just as easily start allowing payments to service providers via chat or even a ‘buy service’ button on the service providers page.